Dr. Vladimir Vladimirov, M.D., Ph.D., was awarded a two-year grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the amount of $419,375 to study the genome-wide expression patterns of genes and miRNA in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex from subjects with alcohol dependence (AD) and healthy controls. The award has two main goals: i) identify AD-relevant gene and miRNA networks and ii) detect genetic polymorphisms found to be associated with AD from genome-wide association studies that affect the expression of certain key (hub) genes within the AD-relevant gene and miRNA networks. As Dr. Vladimirov explained, “the novelty of this comes from our approach of integrating genetic and molecular studies to provide a deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of AD. To our knowledge, we are the first group in the human alcohol research field to propose such integration.”
The brain tissue that will be used for the generation of these results was donated to Dr. Vladimirov through the Australian Brain Bank at the University of Sydney. The postmortem brain sample was exclusively collected for the purpose of understanding and advancing our knowledge in the field of alcohol use and misuse.
Dr. Vladimirov hopes that the results from this study will help us understand the brain mechanisms involved in alcohol use and misuse, ultimately leading to the development of better diagnostic definitions as well as identification of novel pharmacological targets. “By understanding the mechanisms of how individuals become addicted,” Dr. Vladimirov explained, “we hope to prevent young adolescents from developing addiction to alcohol and to develop better treatment options for those already addicted.”
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Article by Elizabeth Long.